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Digital Subscriptions > GCN > 338 > Roma & LGBT+

Roma & LGBT+

At a low estimate, there are approximately 500 LGBT+ Roma people living in this country, yet not one has come forward to the organisations that support Travellers and Roma people. This invisibility is rooted in the overall challenges Roma people face in Ireland, as Chris O’Donnell reports.

“I was hesitant to let people know that I was gay in a Romani context… because I assumed I wouldn’t be welcome if I were to reveal who I am. I think that was a mistake. I should have come out sooner.

Roma people constitute the largest ethnic minority group in Europe, with an estimated population of 10 to 12 million. Gaining specific figures on the exact number of Roma people living in Ireland has been difficult, as their ethnic identity is not included in census forms and there’s an understandable reluctance to tell officials that they belong to a group which is continually subjected to state-sanctioned racial discrimination.

The rough estimate at the moment, from the National Roma Needs Assessment (a new report by Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre and the Department of Justice and Equality) is 5,000. According to Oein DeBhairduin, a core member of the online support group, LGBT Pavee, there may be over 13 different Roma groups living in Ireland alone. “There are different dialects, different belief systems, different habitations and engagements, different ethnicities to a certain degree, different nationalities, and at the moment everyone is engaged as a singular group. It’s quite diverse, but the system is a ‘one-sizefits-all’.”

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About GCN

Our cover star this month Michelle Visage talks about the impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race on its contestants and the world, how being the mother of a queer child has made her more political, and how she’ll be behaving on the panel of Ireland’s Got Talent. ACT UP Dublin get real with the government about PrEP, we ask why there is complete invisibility of Roma LGBT people in Ireland, and we meet a contingent of courageous defenders of LGBT+ human rights across the globe. Plus, new dance-pop kids on the block, Sofi Tukker tell us just can’t believe they’re on every radio in the States, and we explore the impact of tech on queer relationships. It’s a meaty mix for February!
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